Cosmic Architecture with Christian Wassmann
Studying architecture formally in school, did you ever discuss or learn about astronomy, or astrological aspects of the medium?
No, but I was lucky to attended amazing art and architecture history classes and seminars where seemingly unrelated fields got connected. I had one professor who would talk about C.G Jung, the early 20th century commune on Monte Verita, and Bruno Taut's Alpine Architecture in the same lecture.
How do you yourself live in a way that works in tandem with the universe, without being inside the sun path house itself?
The Sun Path House is a building that took its shape from the suns movement over Miami on summer solstice, which is a fact one can feel even on the floors below the solarium roof deck. A connection to the universe can be made pretty much anywhere, architecture can just intensify the experience. I try to spend as much time as possible outdoors, but on an average day I'm indoors for longer. Ideally the rooms I'm in allow for a harmonious relationship with the cosmos, which is the relationship to what is around my body as well as to my internal subconsciousness.
How do you think that a larger portion of society could shift closer to the balance that this house has created between solitude, the city, and the stars/sun/sky?
I strongly believe that carefully planed buildings and cities improve our society. Architects can be like chiropractors, one little intervention like a small building serving a good purpose at the right place can change an entire neighborhood, and as a result the whole city and its inhabitants. For individuals a first suggestion for a more balanced life would be to look up to the sky and observe the slow movement of clouds, birds, the moon, the sun and other stars. This observation can lead to a more calm existence and possibly to better, more respectful interactions with the world around and below us.
What is your next project?
My new studio in the city, a weekend house Upstate New York, and a mixed-use building in Switzerland.
What aspects of traditional philosophy (you mentioned learning about it during your time in India) have been especially impactful on your practice?
While I was in Jaipur I read a book about the functions of the various observatory buildings. Primarily these structures were astrological instruments but in the 17th century when they were built, astrology and astronomy was not separated. My main revelation in India was the calmness of people in extremely chaotic cities and situations, which later lead me to start meditating.
Conceptually, has this project altered your own interaction with the world, outside of your work?
Yes, the Sun Path House and now the making of this book made me more aware that I can contribute something to the architectural discourse, a discourse that can not only be theoretical if it wants to be meaningful, a discourse that leads to buildings and things that relate individuals to the each other, to themselves and to the cosmos.